Silicon Silicon research boule
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3D3DSilicon research boule.
From the source:
Here is another silicon boule for research, much smaller than would be actually sliced into wafers for chip fabrication. This sample was produced either by the Czochralski pulling method or possibly the less-common floating zone method, though the end result is basically the same.

The distribution of silicon crystals such as this one for research in the second half of the 20th century is quite interesting, and strangely incestuous in a way. For example, General Electric might have received a government grant to grow crystals such as these as a pilot for making into electronic devices. General Electric would then send a box of crystals such as this one to MIT, contracting a professor there to determine the dissolved hydrogen content and check the homogeneity. The professor would then save the pieces, eventually giving them to a colleague of his at a different university, where this new professor would saw thin wafer-thin slices off and use them to test a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. A graduate student would end up with the unused crystals when they took over the CVD project from the professor, still a couple pieces such as this sample, The graduate student might then spend a year or two working on their Ph.D thesis at a US DOE National Lab, taking the crystals with them, where they would be abandoned and finally used as extremely pure evaporation material for a electron beam evaporation partner project with General Electric, coming full circle. I have not read anything about this phenomenon, nor heard it acknowledged widely in the research community; rather, this is something I have discovered myself in my pursuit of saving element samples from the landfill, and I think it is both fascinating and quite entertaining.

Source: Ethan Currens
Contributor: Ethan Currens
Acquired: 26 September, 2008
Text Updated: 1 March, 2009
Price: Anonymous
Size: 2"
Purity: 99.9999%